The Drake Equation was revised. The number of advanced alien civilizations in our universe could be much, much higher than previously thought.
The famous equation makes use of seven variables (the rate of star formation in our galaxy, the fraction of stars that can form planetary systems, the fraction of said planets that could potentially support life and so on) but many alien hunters believe it to be a bit outdated.
According to a new study published in the Astrobiology scientific journal did just that by incorporating recent exoplanet data gathered through Kepler and similar space programs. The study also adds two new notions in the mix: pessimism and optimism and seeks to correlate these factors with the effort to find alien life.
“The question of whether advanced civilizations exist elsewhere in the universe has always been vexed with three large uncertainties in the Drake equation,” study coauthor Adam Frank states. “We’ve known for a long time approximately how many stars exist. We didn’t know how many of those stars had planets that could potentially harbor life, how often life might evolve and lead to intelligent beings, and how long any civilizations might last before becoming extinct.”
Drawing on SETI and Kepler data, the study established the probability of us being alone at one in ten billion trillion, so chances are high that we really aren’t the only ones in the universe.
The probability of a civilization developing on a potentially habitable alien planet would have to be less than one in 10 billion trillion — or one part in 10 to the 22nd power — for humanity to be the first technologically advanced species the cosmos has ever known.
This means many other planets throughout the universe probably hosted intelligent life long before Earth did.